The United States says an Iranian agent has been indicted for an alleged plot to assassinate John Bolton, who was national security adviser to former President Donald Trump.

Shahram Poursafi, who US officials say is a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, is wanted by the FBI on charges related to the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Mr Bolton told Sky News: “I think this is a plot by the Iranian government against a former US government official. I can say that I am not the only one the ayatollahs in Tehran are trying to ‘murder.”

He added: “They are not just former government officials, they are private citizens in the United States. It is a murderous and lying regime. It is an enemy of the United States and we must treat it as this way.

“I believe this unsealed (indictment) document helps citizens of the United States and around the world to see exactly what the nature of the regime in Tehran is.”

According to the US Department of Justice, the alleged plan was likely to be in retaliation for the January 2020 US drone strike who killed the leader of Iran’s elite Al-Quds force, Major General Qassem Soleimanidubbed the second most powerful person in the Middle Eastern country.

They said Iranian national Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, “attempted to pay $300,000 (£245,000) to individuals in the United States to carry out the murder in Washington DC or in Maryland”.

Poursafi, who remains at large abroad, has never denied his involvement in the Al-Quds Force, US officials said.

If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (£204,000) for using interstate commercial facilities in the commission of murder for account of others.

He also faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for providing and attempting to provide material support to a transnational murder plot.

John Bolton and Donald Trump in June 2018
Image:
John Bolton and Donald Trump in June 2018

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Iran does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

In a report, Mr Boltonwho served from 2018 to 2019, thanked the FBI and the Department of Justice.

“While not much can be said publicly at this time, one point is indisputable: Iran’s leaders are liars, terrorists and enemies of the United States,” he said.

Shahram Poursafi
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Shahram Poursafi still on the run abroad

Timeline of alleged events, according to the Department of Justice:

:: On November 14, 2021, Poursafi, 45, contacted a Confidential Human Source, or CHS, and then offered them $250,000 to hire someone to “take out” the former National Security Advisor.

This amount would then be negotiated up to $300,000. Poursafi added that he had an extra “job” for which he would pay $1 million.

:: On Nov. 19, 2021, Poursafi told CHS that it didn’t matter how Bolton’s murder was committed, but that his “group” would demand video confirmation of the target’s death.

The CHS asked Poursafi what would happen if the murder was attributed to Iran. Poursafi told the CHS not to worry and that Poursafi’s “group” would take care of it.

:: On February 1, 2022, Poursafi told the CHS that if he did not eliminate the target within two weeks, the position would be removed from the CHS.

He also informed the CHS that someone had checked the area around the former national security adviser’s house, and he believed there was no security presence, so the CHS should be in able to “finish the job”.

:: On March 10, 2022, Poursafi told the CHS that he had another assassination job for the CHS in the United States, but to “keep [the former national security adviser] in the back of your mind”.

About a month later, Poursafi encouraged the CHS to accept this offer, explaining that if it was done successfully, Poursafi could indulge his “group” and take over the task of assassinating the former national security adviser. .

:: On April 28, 2022, the CHS told Poursafi that he would not continue to work without being paid. Poursafi agreed to send the CHS $100 in cryptocurrency to a virtual wallet the CHS created earlier today, to prove the payment could be made.

Later that day, the cryptocurrency wallet received two payouts totaling $100.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the Justice Department’s top national security official, said this is “not the first time we have uncovered Iranian plots to exact revenge against individuals on American soil and we will work relentlessly exposing and disrupting each of these efforts.” .

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